I am a big fan of charcuterie and cheese boards, or meat and cheese nights as my husband and I fondly call it. It is so much more than simply throwing a bit of cheese and crackers together. Of course cheese and cured meats are the main part of this delicious gathering of quality foods but I also love to serve some pickled gherkins, olives and these Paprika and Thyme Roasted Almonds on the side. During a trip to San Francisco last year we went on a wine tour to the Napa and Sonoma Valley. For lunch we stopped off at the Oxbow Public Food Market in Napa and had a delicious charcuterie board with the finest of smoked and cured meats and pungent of cheeses. But it was the almonds that also added to the flavour and of course the texture. I had never really roasted and seasoned nuts before. I add them to risotto dishes or salads but other than that I always simply put a few nuts together straight from a packet for a mid-afternoon snack. It was after this trip that I started to roast and flavour nuts myself to add to our delicious meat and cheese nights and as a snack.
Living in a city such as Berlin means we are lucky to easily get our hands on good quality meat and cheese. My personal favourite is the Galeries Lafayette for it’s wide range of french produce but the Galeria Kaufhof that is conveniently on my way home from work also has plenty of deli counters with a wide selection of meats and cheese. Both also have really good fresh bread counters, something that I find difficult to get even in the larger supermarkets in the UK. The bread just doesn’t taste as fresh or delicious. And of course, any charcuterie night should be washed down with a good bottle of red wine, a pinot noir being our usual go to choice.
I also pack these Paprika and Thyme Roasted Almonds for a snack during work. They are the perfect go to food for that mid-afternoon energy slump. They take less than a minute to prepare and then just sit in the oven for 20 mins. I then season with some sea salt when fresh out of the oven and leave to cool before transferring to a jar. They keep in a sealed jar for around 1 week.
- 150/200g almonds
- few springs of fresh thyme (leaves picked, discard the stalks)
- 1 tspn smoked paprika
- Black pepper
- sea salt
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- In a roasting tray add the almonds, thyme and paprika. Mix well and then place in the hot oven for around 20 mins. Giving them a shake half way through.
- Take out of the oven and season with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Leave to cool.
- Once cooled down transfer to a jar and keep in the cupboard for around 1 week.